Olympic Journal: Bill and Nancy Bauer
February 9, 2002
By William and Nancy Bauer
What, if any, emotional attachment does the average skier
have for Minnesota athletes heading for SLC? That's a question
we have been unable to answer since 1992. As parents of one
such athlete, we have to admit, it's darn tough to be emotionally
detached. How does it feel to be the parent of an Olympic
participant? It feels good, no doubt about it. All parents
probably live vicariously through their children to a certain
extent. We have to remind ourselves that on the timeline of
human existence, the Olympics is but a blip, something less
than a pencil dot in history. Adversity and loss of friends
through illness and accidents have a way of keeping things
And then there is the love a parent has for all of his/her
children. We have two sons. Both are talented. One is gifted.
It is terribly hard on a parent to witness the effects of
the shadow effect. Parents can love their children equally.
It is a more difficult task to treat them equally, despite
extraordinary efforts. People congratulate us and suggest
we must be very proud of John. Our answer is that we are proud
of both our sons.
As students of history, we recognize that for most of human
existence we have been warring and inhumane one to another.
Given our choice, we would rather foster civility than athletics.
We would rather witness everyday people cooperating with one
another in an effort to create peace and healthy lifestyles.
While sport was designed to foster fair play and sensitivity
to others, we fear it is on a runaway money course. Unfortunately
that occasionally extends to "amateur sport" such as the Olympics.
Many teams and individuals participating in modern Olympics
are highly paid professionals. Of course as parents, we know
that criticism doesn't exactly fit the USA men's and women's
ski world. These kids are scratching for an existence and
training on their own. And for the same reason, it seems to
us, cross country skiing in all its forms, remains as one
of the truly amateur sports, at least in the US. That's why
we, like so many of you reading this, understand that one
doesn't need to be Norwegian or Swedish to live for this lifelong
And as for John Bauer, for those of you who don't know him
well, we'd just like to say that you better never count him
out. He's full of surprises, but with all due modesty, he
comes as close to anyone we know who personifies amateur sport
and fair play. For this and a thousand other reasons, we're
excited about arriving in Salt Lake City on Sunday to witness
part of the 2002 Olympics. Thanks to all of you who have sent
well-wishes and congratulations. You are part of the reason
for the success our Minnesota athletes enjoy. You also a big
part of their character. Thanks!
Nancy and Bill Bauer